The end of summer is marked with several annual events in the Pittsburgh region, and one that has been a favorite in the Laurel Highlands for many years is none other than the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival!
We have been to many Renaissance Festivals elsewhere in the past, but our recent visit to Pittsburgh's festival was a first- and it delivered the nostalgic experience we were looking for.
Nostalgia Abound at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival
For those who have visited Renaissance Festivals in other cities, like us, odds are good you're going to enter the Pittsburgh location with a feeling of nostalgia for your previous visits.
The layout, shops, acts, and overall ambiance are all quite similar to other festivals with only subtle differences- making you feel transported to a magical little European village that exists, well, apparently everywhere. For those who have been to this event before you know what you're going to get well before you reach the Laurel Highlands, and that is all that really needs to be said.
But for those who haven't visited the Pittsburgh Ren Fest before, we have to take a step back to explain why that is.
A Medieval Village in the Laurel Highlands
The design of the Renaissance Festival elicits thoughts of a village during a far away time period in England. Many shops line the narrow dirt paths with wares from period specific dresses and swords to more modern jewelry and art, to name a few, and the vendors are more than happy to verbally accost you to get you to enter.
Thrown in the mix is many music performers, food hawkers, stages for live performances, and games for visitors of all ages. Many of these are free, such as the stage shows and others come at an additional charge (food, games of skill, etc).
The live performances are the true highlights of the Renaissance Festival and the grounds offer nearly a dozen stages featuring acts from live music, to comedic swordsmen, and several jousting tournaments put on by the King and Queen throughout the day.
It would be very easy to arrive to the Renaissance Festival shortly after opening and hop around the shows for a full day and not get close to seeing it all. Throw in a few games, shopping, and dining on a massive turkey drumstick (a Renaissance Festival staple if there ever was one), and you have a solid day out from Pittsburgh no matter how you look at it.
The one downside is the same as its perk, in that the Renaissance Festival is in its own way, the literal interpretation of nostalgia come to life. No matter when you've visited the festival last, odds are good it'll feel exactly the same as it did on your last visit.
The acts may change over the years, as do the shops, but the model is the same. When it comes to visiting the Renaissance Festival, that's exactly the way we like it.
The Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival takes places from mid-August until the end of September and is located at 112 Renaissance Lane in West Newton, PA.
Looking for more things to do in Pittsburgh in September? Click the previous link for more of our favorite recommendations! Or, if you're looking for more to do in the region on your way back from the festival, grab a beer at Bloom Brew, a glass of wine at Vinoski Winery, or go hike at Cedar Creek Park!